Joaquin Valdes stars in first London Fringe musical to open since lockdown

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Joaquin Valdes London Fringe
Joaquin Pedro Valdes takes on a lead role in Fanny and Stella. Photo from Joaquin Valdes Facebook.

Filipino performing artist Joaquin Pedro Valdes is starring in the first London Fringe musical to open since the lockdown to stop the spread of COVID 19.

Valdes was announced to be playing the title character’s lover in the London musical, Fanny and Stella.

“Fanny and Stella,” a musical with book and lyrics by Glenn Chandler, the creator of ‘Taggart’, and music by Charles Miller, will be presented from August 3 to 25, 2020, at The Garden Theatre in London. Fanny & Stella: The Shocking True Story is about the famous trial of Ernest Boulton and Fredrick Park also known as Stella and Fanny.

Joaquin Valdes plays John Safford Fiske alongside actors such as Jed Berry (Kinky Boots) and Kane Verrall (The Sound of Musical), who plays Ernest Boulton (aka Stella) and Frederick William Park (aka Fanny).

This LGBT-themed musical is staged in an open-air venue. Valdes shares that it will be the first production to follow official government guidelines for social distancing.

“The government had just announced the official green light for outdoor performances to resume. So, there’s lots of attention on it because it’s the first show that’s actually going to get produced following all the official social-distancing guidelines—and there are lots of them.”

Face masks have to be worn for the shows. Audiences also have to observe social distancing for the 80-minute performance.

The actor admits he went through a series of highs and lows when The King and I got cancelled abruptly due to the COVID-19 lockdown.

“Before COVID-19 stopped the world, I had done 487 shows total. It might not be a big deal to most, but it’s massive for a Filipino dreamer like me.”

Valdes says that he underwent a social media detox for a while to focus on being calm. He also shares what kept him busy during that time.

“I was meditating, baking bread (which was my savior, too), and started taking classes and doing things that inspired me and reminded me of why I fell in love with this craft in the first place. I needed to focus only on what I could control and understand, instead of getting drowned by all the toxic speculation, negativity and noise.”

When asked what he’d like to do next in the theater scene, Valdes shares that while he’d certainly love to be in another big blockbuster-selling show, he is very grateful to be given a part on “any” stage, whether big or small.

The actor says he couldn’t have asked for a better post-COVID-19 lockdown gig.

“This is why I love the stage and being an actor—that we’re able to tell a story like this in this specific moment in history. It’s crazy, exciting and extremely brave. And I get to be part of that history.”

The Filipino actor, singer, and director is currently based in the United Kingdom where he had landed much-coveted roles like Cover Engineer/Cover Thuy for the UK tour of the globally renowned play Miss Saigon and Cover Lun Tha in The King and I.

In Manila, Valdes was Mr. Wormwood in the premiere of Matilda and Melchior Gabor in the premiere of Spring Awakening.

More establishments are meeting COVID-19 and social distancing guidelines to provide Filipinos with entertainment.

The Philippines’ first drive-in movie theater will begin screening the much-awaited South Korean film, Train to Busan 2: Peninsula.

There are also new health safety protocols in place to enable the resumption of Philippine film productions.

Theme park Enchanted Kingdom (EK) in Sta. Rosa, Laguna is also offering its thrilling rides through a virtual experience that can be enjoyed in the comforts of your own home.

SEND CONGRATULATIONS in the comments below to Joaquin Valdes for landing a starring role in Fanny and Stella, the first London Fringe musical to open since lockdown.

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